I know it sounds trite, and maybe even self-centered (at first glance), but I’m enjoying learning to “take better care of me, so that I can take care of everyone else”. My husband has cancer and I have high cholesterol (and recently developed high blood pressure too), plus I homeschool my son.
Up until now, I thought that “taking care of everything” meant staying active as I ran about the house, cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, etc. — you know — a lot of “movement”. And, sometimes that’s true. But I have learned (probably in part due to being in my early 40’s now, with new health concerns, etc.) to slow down. I know VERY well, that my family doesn’t really need me to “run hard” all-the-time. I really always knew that, but it’s so difficult to slow down and give a listening ear when I have more interest in “getting things done”. However, while there is a time and place for those things, the more important “things” can most certainly get brushed over and pushed off if I don’t slow down, practice selfless patience with my family members, and consider other slower-moving accomplishments as vitally important.
This is especially true as a homeschooling mother. Lots of patience is needed. But as I have begun to embrace this role more, I am truly learning how to do it and enjoy it! In other words, learning the art of teaching, the limits of time per topic, the ways to motivate and instruct my child, and the things that I need to not experience burnout along the way.
I know that burnout wouldn’t too easily come from homeschooling one child, but it can, just like with anything that is not done with balance and wisdom. But let’s face it, we all have more to think about than just our one job. We definitely all have multiple roles and jobs, and it can be fun and interesting, and it can also be tough. In my case, with my husband’s cancer diagnosis (and even before the diagnosis when symptoms were showing up), there is a new role to play in the family and it takes some time to think about things in a new way to be sure that you do your new role right, and with as much love, peace, and joy as possible.
And that is where “taking care of me” comes in. I first started doing this a couple of years ago when I decided to lose weight through the “Trim Healthy Mama” plan. I was very successful, and I have felt trim and happy-with-that ever since! I also felt great for quite awhile, but high cholesterol has been with me much of my life (it’s genetic) and now the high blood pressure. It’s the high blood pressure that really brought me to “not feeling great”. However, now, because of the meds the doctors prescribed, the blood pressure is controlled and I actually can relax better. I have also found ways to enjoy homeschooling with patience, by having something to crochet in my hand. It’s my personal coping method with that particular area of life that I have trouble with: being patient (as I mentioned earlier, I have such a tendency to see everything through the view of “gotta get it done” as in the laundry, the dishes, the business, etc. and you don’t want to overly-pressure a child who is learning, though I struggle with that all-the-time).
Scheduling and changing my thinking on certain personal matters, have also become helpful to me. The first part, that is, the schedule, is to be held more-or-less loosely but with a certain measure of respect for it. Never-the-less, it acts as a helpful guide to keep my life ordered, rather than having long checklists with no idea of how or when things will be accomplished. In fact, a schedule helps me to know whether my checklists are even feasible or wise to include. The second part, that is, changing my thinking on certain things, is a matter of self-reflection, and time spent quietly thinking (and hopefully praying too) about what way to view various matters that are in my life. Just as an example, I have had to face the fact that I may not have any more children even though I would enjoy having more. Perhaps I can spend some time thinking of how no-more-children can be good too, since this, in fact, is where God has me in life (unless He has a certain surprise for us in the future). A HUGE help to changing my thinking and having peace with this or anything else, is offering thanks to God for every little blessing in my life. Eyesight, family and friends, heat and clean water, use of my hands, joy when I take a walk, and the list goes on and on. When I start to thank God, the gratitude goes a very long way. Not only have I given God the glory and honor that is due Him, but I think it does something wonderful for me too! I know it helps my outlook on things, and I think it is even beneficial for my health.
I hope this has blessed someone today. We all need encouragement.